Crowds light, but still plenty to do at Ag Expo

July 21, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

If you go ...

What: Washington County Ag Expo

Where: Washington County Agricultural Educational Center on Sharpsburg Pike (Md. 65)

When: Through Thursday

Today's Highlights: Babies on Parade, 6 p.m.; 4-H/FFA Dairy Showmanship, 7:30 p.m.; FAME Nascar Racing, 8 p.m.

Admission: $5 from 10 a.m. to closing today; free for children ages 8 and younger.

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The scorching metal bleachers beside the Washington County Ag Expo tractor pull were virtually empty Sunday afternoon, the small groups of spectators gathered, instead, beneath the shade of a few tent canopies.

In the carnival area, the swings hung lifeless; the Ferris wheel ran with only one car occupied. Game booth operators blamed competition from the Monster Truck show at Hagerstown Speedway. Temperatures in the 90s didn't help, either.


But for dozens of Ag Expo participants, Sunday meant the culmination of months of preparation and anticipation, and they approached the event with a determination no amount of heat could wilt. These are some of their stories.

Karlie Hose, 17, of Clear Spring

Karlie Hose kept a firm hand on her sheep's neck as the judge circled the four exhibitors yet again. The audience murmured about how long he was considering. The contest must be very close, they said.

Finally, the judge made his decision. Hose, he said, was "very smooth; very consistent." She knew her sheep well and understood those of her competitors, too. She answered every question perfectly.

Hose tucked her first-place senior-class showmanship ribbon into her pocket. After working with her sheep every night for three months, she said she went into the contest confident about her showmanship. Answering questions was the hard part, she said.

Hose said she became interested in showing sheep after watching her sister and uncle do it.

"It teaches you responsibility," she said. "I love animals, so that's the main thing."

Harry Sibert, 57, of Hagerstown

Harry Sibert remembers the first time he spotted his 1956 Ford. It was two years ago in Pennsylvania, and its shiny purple paint and distinct '50s style were calling to him.

"It's a pretty car," he said. "When I rode by it, I made a U-turn."

Since buying the car, Sibert has been told by classic car connoisseurs that it is the only one of its style and color they have ever seen.

But as Sibert and his girlfriend, Pat McClelland, sat in the shade beside the car, waiting for the classic car show judging to begin, a bright orange "FOR SALE" sign leaned in the Ford's windshield.

"We're too old to enjoy 'em anymore," Sibert explained.

Keeping a classic car is expensive, between the cost of warehousing and upkeep and the ordeal of finding replacement parts, he said.

But Sibert is not worried about finding a buyer.

"Everyone that sees it wants it," he said. "The one that has the right money gets it."

Hunter Brock, 8, of Bunker Hill, W.Va.

Hunter Brock might be 8 years old, but he cranks up his John Deere with the confidence of someone twice his age. If it weren't for his size, you would never have guessed this was his first year driving in tractor pulls.

"My dad taught me," Hunter explained, as he prepared to line up for the Eastern Garden Tractor Pulling 16-horsepower stock class pull. His Cub Cadet tractor, "Bad to the Bone," was customized for the event.

"I helped put the engine in, and I helped put everything on," Hunter said proudly.

His mother, Shelley Brock, said after watching her husband and two older sons participate in tractor pulls, she isn't worried about Hunter entering the sport.

"After three, you don't get nervous anymore," she said.

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